Is Medical Marijuana Safe for Older Adults and Does It Affect Kidney Health?


Is Medical Marijuana Safe for Older Adults and Does It Affect Kidney Health?

As medical marijuana becomes more accepted, its use among older adults in the United States is reportedly increasing. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association highlighted this trend, showing a rise in past-year use from 2.4% to 4.2% among those 65 and older from 2015 to 2018. While this increase suggests a reduced stigma around cannabis, it raises questions about its safety and health implications for this demographic.

Concerns about kidney health are often prominent among older adults. However, a study led by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found no link between moderate marijuana use and kidney disease in healthy adults. This finding offers some reassurance but does not eliminate the need for caution, particularly in individuals with pre-existing kidney issues.

The kidneys can be affected by various factors, including diabetes, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, uncontrolled hypertension, high cholesterol, and certain medications. While cannabis might not directly harm kidney function in healthy individuals, its interaction with other drugs could pose risks, as suggested by research from Washington State University.

The science behind using cannabis to treat serious illnesses is still evolving, lagging behind real-life usage. As noted by experts at Jefferson University, more research is needed to fully understand the risks and benefits of cannabis in medical settings. While cannabis legalization brings benefits like regulation and taxation, as discussed by Johns Hopkins University, the scientific community is still trying to keep pace with changing social norms and product variations.

In terms of health benefits, research from the Johnson & Wales University points to potential advantages like reducing inflammation and preventing relapse in drug and alcohol addiction. However, these findings should be approached with an element of doubt, considering the nascent stage of cannabis research, especially in older populations.

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In conclusion, while the increasing use of medical marijuana among older adults may reflect reduced stigma, its safety, particularly regarding kidney health, remains a subject of ongoing investigation. It’s crucial for individuals, especially those with existing health concerns, to approach cannabis use with informed caution.

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